Space Jam: A New Legacy and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros
Directed by Malcolm D Lee
Nostalgia is a heck of a drug, isn’t it? The original Space Jam is certainly a fondly remembered time capsule and it has some highlights to it like its strong animation and some bizarre asides that gave it a bit of flavor despite being such an obvious marketing tool. It’s been over twenty years though and what worked for us back then may not capture the imagination of the “Youth” today, and frankly I couldn’t tell you if any of them have seen or even HEARD of that first movie unless it was shoved on them by their Millennial parents. It seems the question that this movie seeks to answer (along with how to make your budget back with a simultaneous streaming and theater release) is whether you can both reheat old nostalgia while giving something new for next generation to attach themselves to. Does this succeed in giving us the best of both worlds, or will spreading itself too thin leave nobody happy? Let’s find out!!
LeBron James may be a worldwide superstar and really good basketball player, but his parenting skills leave something to be desired as his son Dom (Cedric Joe) isn’t really into basketball despite his dad insisting that he go to Basketball Camp this summer. He’d much rather go to Video Game Camp which I think is what people started calling Computer Camp to trick youngsters into going, but he’s worried about telling his dad that he’d rather make games than play ball. While all this tension is in the air, Warner Bros has called LeBron James over so that their algorithm named Al-G-Rhythm (Don Cheadle) can pitch… some sort of multimedia deal? LeBron seems as confused as I am so he turns it down which OF COURSE makes good ol’ Al go full on Skynet and kidnap him and his son, and drag them both into cyberspace. Since Al-G-Rhythm is a WB program, I guess he’s aware of what a success the original Space Jam movie was and so challenges him to a basketball game while he mentors Dom and nourishes his desire to make video games. It’s up to LeBron to find the most suitable characters owned by WB to join his basketball team, or failing that the Looney Tunes characters led by Bugs Bunny (Jeff Bergman), and get his son back by winning a game of basketball! Can LeBron bring the Toons back together who’ve long been separated while also bridging the gap between him and his son? What is Al-G-Rhythm’s plans for Dom once he’s done making his game, and will it spell doom for his family? Wait, why do they call it Space Jam when no one in this is from Space? Shouldn’t it be Cyber Jam?
Night School and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Malcolm D Lee
It’s always good seeing Kevin Hart! Okay, maybe not… BUT it’s always good to see Tiffany Haddish, right!? Ehh… fine, these are two VERY talented comedians but they aren’t always in the best movies as is the case with A LOT of successful comedians. Putting them together SHOULD be a match made in heaven, but then again maybe the filmmakers thought the script was so bad that even Hart couldn’t save it by himself. In any case, we can hope that there are at least a few good jokes in here even if the premise and the trailers don’t seem to be promising all that much. Does this movie manage to rise above expectations to be one of the better comedies this year, or are we doomed to suffer yet another mediocre effort from filmmakers and comedians who should be working on WAY more ambitious projects than this? Let’s find out!!
Teddy Walker (Kevin Hart) is your average Joe who is actually doing quite well for himself despite dropping out of high school and for reasons other than he’s a genius who went off to start his own company. Instead, he’s managed to find a good job at a barbecue grill store and has set himself apart from his peers due to his world class skills in customer service! I kind of find that hard to believe though considering he ends up accidentally blowing the place up not long after the movie starts. You’d think someone as professional as he is wouldn’t have done something like that, but in any case Teddy is now without a job which is doubly a problem as he’s been living paycheck to paycheck for some time; refusing to tell his girlfriend Lisa who has a WAY more successful job (Megalyn Echikunwoke) that he’s not as well off as he lets on and that he could REALLY use a few bucks to ease the stress. Luckily for Teddy though, his buddy Marvin (Ben Schwartz) JUST SO HAPPENS to have an even BETTER job for him all lined up… but he has to get his GED first! To make matters worse, the principal of the high school (Taran Killam) is someone he had beef with in high school (for some reason…) and is not about to let old grievances die off, even if he can’t TECHNICALLY keep Teddy from going to night classes run by Professor Carrie (Tiffany Haddish) which I assume is the way she prefers to be addressed. Can Teddy get his GED and that sweet new job without having his girlfriend finds out all of his deeply held and embarrassing secrets? What wacky hijinks will he get into with a classroom full of eccentric odd balls that have their own reasons for getting their GED? Can we send all six of the scriptwriters to night school? I don’t know about you, but they could really use some brushing up if this is what they consider “professional” material.
Girls Trip and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Malcolm D Lee
I am so not looking forward to this one. They just kept playing that trailer over and OVER again in front of everything I saw, and I never once found it funny; especially that joke (and I use the term loosely) about infectious diseases NOT being spread through the rectum. Are we supposed to laugh because it’s ignorant? I don’t know, but all that said it’s got a decent enough looking cast and trailers don’t ALWAYS accurately reflect the finished product. Maybe there’s a chance this will turn out fine! That’s possible, right!? Well let’s find out!!
The movie is about four friends who were besties in college, but then life happened and they started to drift away as they found love, careers, and other things that kept them busy. We’ve got Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) who’s a self-help celebrity married to some dude named Stewart (Mike Colter), Lisa Cooper (Jada Pinkett Smith) who’s a divorcee as well as a helicopter mom, Sasha Franklin (Queen Latifah) who was going to be a great journalist but is stuck writing about celebrity gossip on her blog, Dina (Tiffany Haddish) who’s… well THE WILD CARD I guess. Anyway, the titular trip of the movie happens when Ryan has an opportunity to get a TV show and is meeting up with the TV executives in New Orleans while she’s ALSO giving a speech at a women’s conference of some kind; both of which by the way are happening over the same weekend as the Essence Music Festival. Given this once in a lifetime opportunity, she decides to call up her friends and invite them for a wild weekend which will surely be filled with shenanigans and wine coolers! Of course, things don’t go as planned as all four of them have issues that bubble up to the surface during the trip and Ryan is at risk of losing that TV show deal if things get too far out of hand. Can Ryan keep things under control between her wild friends and even her husband long enough to get what she’s always wanted? Will Sasha betray her best friend once she gets her hands on some juicy gossip about her and her love life? Will the other two resolve… whatever story arcs THEY have!?
Barbershop: The Next Cut and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Malcolm D Lee
I tend not to review movies if I haven’t seen the original films first; even if the connection between them is tenuous at best. Mostly it’s an excuse to keep my own sanity (*cough* Allegiant *cough*) but I think it’s fair to say that those who go see sequels without seeing the previous films are gonna be hard pressed to review it in the context of the series as well as in the context of itself as a singular film. That said, I made an exception here; primarily because this is one of those years later sequels which means they’ll likely have a refresher of sorts at the beginning to catch everyone up to speed, and also because I thought the trailers looked pretty good with a solid cast and genuinely funny moments; That and the added bonus of seeing Nikki Minaj onscreen. ANYWAY! Does this manage to bring in a new audience while also pleasing the longtime fans of the series, or will this be a disaster borne from the cast and crew’s desire to just cash in on their previous success? Let’s find out!!
The movie primarily follows the misadventures of Calvin (Ice Cube) who runs a joint barber shop/beauty shop where many of his friends work, including his wife Angie (Regina Hall). Going to work every day with the people you love, shooting the shit, cutting hair; sounds like the perfect life, right? Well it WOULD be if the shop wasn’t right smack dab in the middle of one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago! Calvin has to worry about gangsters shooting guns outside the shop, customers shooting them INSIDE the shop, and even his own son Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr) get suckered and seduced into the thug life. Can this little barber shop prove to be the catalyst for real change in the neighborhood once they decide to take direct action? Will Calvin sell the shop so that he and his family can get out of the bad neighborhood while leaving all his friends twisting in the wind? Is Cedric the Entertainer going to live up to his name for once!?